It’s the middle of summer and as I prepare for teaching art in the fall and upcoming exhibitions there is little to show in the way of finished work. I’m at a stage that I describe as the muddle in the middle or creative chaos. It’s a process driven existence right now. As I create I muse a lot which brings me to the teddy bear.
She is a tiny little teddy bear that I found one day in a parking lot; dirty, flattened and lost. I brought her home and after several baths with a gentle soap and a bit of fluffing up she settled in to being an object d’art in my studio.
What is it about the small, hand held, man-made object that is so precious to our psyche? A visit on Monday to the Museum of Anthropology on the UBC campus had me going back again and again the museum copy of the Venus of Willendorf they have displayed there. I did several sketches of her in preparation for a piece I’m creating for an upcoming show. Ironically the Venus artifact is about the same size and colour as my rescued teddy bear. Both were objects of some importance to their original owners though both stories have been lost in time.
This is where the artist often comes in. Though often created singularly, Art is a collective experience and an artist’s musings on an object d’art created by another often leads them to create new work of their own. For my own part I will be curious to see where my sketches and thoughts about teeny tiny teddy bears and equally diminutive Venus figures will take me.
A quote by Henry Moore, sculpture artist, found on Robert Genn’s ‘The Painter’s Keys’ website: “Our knowledge of shape and form remains, in general, a mixture of visual and of tactile experiences… A child learns about roundness from handling a ball far more than from looking at it. “